It is not easy having to be the one making decisions for a group of people, regardless of the size. It is, I imagine, even harder when making those decisions for a large group of children, and through them, to a degree, their parents. I do not envy the sticky situations that teachers and school administrators often find themselves in. That said, one can avoid making life harder for oneself by not making sweeping declarations that are unnecessary.
For the record, Sean Bruno did issue a letter apologizing for the insensitivity of the original letter. Those I spoke with (who will remain anonymous unless they wish to comment here) felt that it was a bit of a nonpology but it is a start nonetheless. So for that I am grateful. I also want to apologize to Sean. I was a bit harsh, not in my words, but in labeling the image of the first letter “asshat principal.” I was angry, but that is no excuse, and it definitely does not help the dialogue. I hope he reads this, and the other post (because it does contain important information for him) and that he accepts my apology.
Because I do, believe it or not, understand what it is like, more than he can probably know. I get that he, and other school administrators live life in the cross-hairs, with parents of wildly diverging attitudes ready to take a shot if he moves out of line. I will not belabor, too much, how he could have just kept his head down on this one and not taken any heat from anyone. I will not do that because I know that it is sometimes not easy to know where the shots are going to be coming from. Had a boy come to class in a dress, there is a good chance he might have had to deal with an angry parent or two. I would hope that in those cases he would err on the side of those that are not bigots and chauvinists, but I do appreciate the difficulty.
I appreciate it, because those of us in the trans* community live our lives, not just at work, but everywhere, in the cross-hairs. We worry if the shots will come from an employer who does not want to offend bigoted customers, even when those customers will have no contact with us. We worry if the shots will come from landlords who evict us because we are too often victims of violent crime and they do not want to deal with that. We worry if the shots will come from family members who do not want to have us around their children because a guest on Fox news told them we are all pedophiles. We worry if the shots will come from police who too often assume we are all sex workers. We worry if the shots will come from some random stranger, so outraged by our very existence that they feel the need to lash out physically.
It is no fun being a target, and while not all of us have to deal with all of the above worries (I do not, I have a great family) we all have to deal with at least one, and usually more. So I understand, I do, what it is like to live life not knowing who you are going to offend by your actions because I live life not knowing who I am going to offend just by being. So Prinicipal Bruno, I do sympathize with your rather unenviable position, I just hope, by reading this and the earlier post, you learn to sympathize with those in your community, possibly your own students in some cases, who were negatively affected by your words. I hope you understand that by perpetuating those gender roles you not just offended, though I am glad you do not want to do that, you made our world a little less safe, and made people more willing to take those shots. If you are half as decent as I am told you are, I am sure you will.
- 10 Myths Conservatives Spread In Opposition To LGBT Employment Protections (thinkprogress.org)
- In Opposing ENDA, Heritage Tells Gay People To Hide In The Closet (thinkprogress.org)
- Philadelphia makes gender-neutral restrooms the law (mydoorsign.com)
- LGBT Students Can Face Long Road To Financial Aid (huffingtonpost.com)